Saturday, March 21, 2009

UK firm BAA Limited has been told by the Competition Commission that they must sell three of their airports within two years. Gatwick and Stansted airports, both serving London, England, and either Edinburgh International Airport or Glasgow International Airport in Scotland must be sold, in that order.

BAA, mostly owned by Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial, described the ruling as ‘flawed’. Despite challenging a preliminary ruling last year, BAA had also already begun the process to seek a buyer for Gatwick in 2008. Ferrovial, who will still have a London airport with Heathrow, has two months to appeal if they wish.

The two year deadline is an extension of the deadline given by the Commission in its previous ruling. Ferrovial, who bought BAA and their seven UK airports in 2006 for US$14 billion, complained that the ruling was impractical given the current recession.

Gatwick and Stansted must be sold to different buyers to ensure adequate competition between both airports and Heathrow. The decision has been praised by airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet.

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